If you’re reading this, you are probably a Disney fan. Believe it or not, some people do not understand the magic. They don’t care to spin in a teacup, they aren’t interested in whether or not Nemo makes it home, and they think that the characters are (gasp) people in costumes. What do you do about people like that, especially if you’re going to be visiting Walt Disney World with one or more of them? Here are some of the best experiences for those who don’t think that they like Disney. There are plenty more things that could have made the list.
9. Jungle Cruise, Magic Kingdom
This could be the most “Disney” experience on this list. After all, Walt Disney Studios plans to release a movie next year based on this classic attraction. That said, if your non-Disney person has a sense of humor, they should enjoy Jungle Cruise. Don’t be surprised if they later point out some of their favorite plants. If your person doesn’t have a sense of humor for puns, you might want to skip this one. You don’t want to make matters worse.
8. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Some people now associate the “Star Wars” franchise with Disney, but the same isn’t really true with Indiana Jones. If your non-Disney person loves action movies, this is the perfect place to take a break in the middle of the day. The show faithfully recreates scenes from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, and then shows you some movie-making magic. Arrive early, and try to get your non-Disney person to volunteer. If picked it will be a moment that neither of you ever forget.
7. Soarin’ Around the World, EPCOT
When you think of hang gliding, Disney is probably not the first thing that pops into your mind. The same is probably true for some iconic world locations, such as The Great Wall of China or the Eiffel Tower. With Soarin’, you can hang glide around the world, but never leave Florida! The views are stunning, and the music is part of the total experience. The fact that the ride ends at EPCOT with Tinker Bell still doesn’t give it a “Disney” feel.
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6. Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Some people who don’t love Disney say it’s because there aren’t any thrills at Walt Disney World. They obviously have not ridden Expedition Everest! Nothing about this coaster screams “Disney”, you’ll just scream with delight. You aren’t in Florida, you’re in the Himalayas. Your train doesn’t pass by seven dwarfs, it instead zooms past the Yeti! Expedition Everest does not have any loops or inversions, but it doesn’t need them. It’s a thrill ride where the story is part of the experience. That story just isn’t a fairytale.
5. Dinner at California Grill, Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Dining is an important part of any Disney vacation. Non-Disney people often assume that all the dining at Walt Disney World features Mickey or has a movie tie-in. They also expect cardboard pizza and cold burgers. California Grill is the perfect restaurant to make your person rethink what Disney dining is all about. The food is fantastic, it will put a smile on any foodie’s face. Even someone who isn’t a Disney fan will have to admit that the view is breathtaking. Take them out on one of the balconies when it’s time for Happily Ever After. You’ll be able to enjoy some of the best fireworks that Disney has to offer, while in a setting that doesn’t feel like Disney. It’s a perfect compromise.
4. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
You’ll hear plenty of Disney music while visiting Walt Disney World, which your non-Disney person may not really enjoy. If they would prefer a classic rock band, then Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster will fit the bill! The ride is a blast, literally. Before you know it you’re full speed on your way to an Aerosmith concert. Of course the band’s music plays the whole time. While Expedition Everest may not have any inversions, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster has three. The best part of all is that the whole thing is in the dark. Your non-Disney person might have been upset because they couldn’t get “It’s a Small World” out of their head after a day at the Magic Kingdom. It’s time for revenge, because they’ll be singing “Walk This Way” all day after riding Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.
3. Space Mountain, Magic Kingdom
The Space Mountain thrill level is quite a bit lower than the other two coasters mentioned, but it is still a must-do ride. Your non-Disney person will have a great time blasting off into space. The theming is a lot of fun, and it will not make anyone think of princesses or animation. The joke will be on your non-Disney person, though. There are several different versions of Space Mountain at Disney Parks across the planet, which makes it very Disney indeed.
2. Festivals, EPCOT
There are four festivals held each year at EPCOT. Unless you attend during the summer, there is a good chance that you’ll be there when one of them is going on. The festivals feature special workshops and demonstrations. There is also extra food and drink. While there are Disney elements to each of the four festivals, that isn’t what they are about. There is something for anyone at EPCOT’s festivals, no matter which one you experience.
1. Pandora – The World of Avatar, Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Disney has not yet found the Valley of Mo’ara. Pandora looks different; there are floating mountains, the plants are not typical Earth plants, and even the sounds are unique. You won’t find Minnie headbands for sale in Windtraders, and there are no Mickey Waffles on the menu at Satu’li Canteen. There are no princesses or dogs that are six feet tall. You won’t ride on the back of a Disney elephant, you will ride on a banshee instead! Make sure you bring your non-Disney person to Pandora after dark. The land glows once the sun goes down. Pandora – The World of Avatar is filled with theming throughout, but it’s not the type of atmosphere that many people expect at Disney. Once your non-Disney person enters Pandora (which was created by Disney Imagineers), they will have to admit that Disney isn’t all that bad. They might even point out a few of their favorite plants.